DIY Bamboo Fibres - Cookbook

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DIY BAMBOO FIBRES Exercises focusing on circularity and processing of bamboo and its fibres



THE BAMBOO Bamboo is a special material and has been receiving a lot of attention lately. Some claim that it can contribute to the next big revolution in the world of building materials. But why all this interest? The bamboo plant, which is not a tree but a grass, is considered a sustainable material because it has the structural characteristics of wood but grows extremely fast.

Bamboo owes its structural excellence to its long fibres. In this cookbook, you will discover how to recover this treasure from waste materials and how to reuse it in the production of everyday but above all sustainable household objects.

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WHERE TO FIND IT The first question is certainly where one can find bamboo in the places around us, without having to go and clear a bamboo forest in some remote villa. The answer is easier than expected. Every day, disposable bamboo chopsticks are thrown away, in Asian restaurants but also at home. These represent a suitable source of bamboo for our experiments.

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The first method to get free chopsticks is to ask an Asian restaurant to hold aside the chopsticks used by diners. If they accept, don’t worry that you will have filled a box in one evening.

A second, less efficient but absolutely welcome method is to eat Asian more often. When ordering take-away food, disposable chopsticks are added, which are very often not used.

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THE RESEARCH Once we have obtained the chopsticks we will use a chemical process to split the fibre from the pulp of the plant. To do this we will use caustic soda, which, dissolved in water, will erode the lignin of the chopsticks, leaving the cellulose of the fibres.

caustic soda

water

Warnings: Caustic soda is a corrosive chemical that causes severe skin burns. thick protective rubber gloves and goggles must be worn.

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Enlarging of the chopsticks in the caustic solution

Lignin

Water Molecules

caustic soda Cellulose fibre

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THE RECIPE With this recipe you will be able to turn your bamboo rod into a workable material. Using the same process, you can create long cellulose fibres or felted bamboo sheets

[2] Rinse the chopsticks of excess soda using rubber gloves and protective goggles. [1] Prepare a solution of caustic soda and water at a ratio of 5% (3 tablespoons caustic soda to 65 cl water). Let the chopsticks soak for 1-2 days. 8


[4.1] to have long, clean cellulose fibres, after crushing, wash the fibres by combing them with a comb and allow them to dry.

[3] Pass them one at a time through the dough press, crushing them and releasing the fibres.

[4.2] to create sheets instead pass the fibres under the press several times, crossing them. Then felt the sheet by hand and with a drop of water, leaving it to dry in the sun. 9



DIY RECIPES From research and experiments, we have learnt how one can easily transform a waste material, such as used chopsticks, into a material for the production of new objects. The more creative you are, the more recipes you have for producing simple homemade objects. We propose here some of the possible recipes.

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THE BAMBOO BRUSH

level:

With this simple and decidedly quick-toprepare recipe, you will be able to turn your chopsticks that you have just finished eating with, into brushes that are fun to use, made from a single material and, above all, self-made.

[2] Rinse the chopsticks of excess soda using rubber gloves and protective goggles. [1] Prepare a solution of caustic soda and water with a ratio of 5% (3 tablespoons of caustic soda to 65 cl of water). Soak the top part (thickest) of the chopstickss for 1-2 days. 12


[5] Adjust and shape it to suit your painting style with scissors and enjoy the fun of painting with a brush made entirely and solely of bamboo

[4] After crushing, wash the fibres by combing them with a comb and let them dry.

[3] Pass the softened tips one at a time into the dough press, crushing them, releasing the fibres 13


THE BAMBOO VASE

level:

In addition to turning bamboo chopsticks into loose fibres, we can also turn them into felted bamboo sheets. With these squares you can cover a glass, starting from the bottom, and create a biodegradable vase for sprouting plants.

Starting from step [3] p. 9

[5] Wrap a stackable plastic cup by first understanding the bottom. [4] To create sheets pass the fibres under the press several times, crossing them. Then felt the sheet by hand and with a drop of water.

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[8] Once dry, you can add potting soil and sprout plants. When it is time to transplant, the biodegradable pot will decompose into the terrain.

[7] Then cover everything with another plastic cup to create the other negative of the mould and let it dry. [6] Continue to wrap the side of the glass with more squares, making sure they stick to each other. 15


THE BAMBOO BROOM level: If you put more effort into a more complex craft, you will be able to make a broom out of bamboo. It will be similar to making brushes, the only thing you will need extra is a block of wood or bamboo.

Starting from step [3] p. 13

[4] After crushing, wash the fibres by combing them with a comb and let them dry.

[5] Start from a wooden block, or preferably bamboo.

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[8] Enjoy your new little bamboo broom for tedious but sustainable cleaning.

[7] Insert the sticks into the holes with a drop of vinyl glue. Let the glue dry and cut off the ends of the sticks.

[6] Shape it as desired and drill a series of holes the diameter of the rod.

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Free University of Bozen/Bolzano Faculty of Design and Art SS 2022 Project presentation by Marco Ciacci Prof. Van Bezooijen Aart Design and production Master Course in Eco-Social Design 19


Bamboo owes its structural excellence to its long fibres. In this cookbook, you will discover how to recover this treasure from waste materials and how to reuse it in the production of everyday but above all sustainable household objects.

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